Around 78 per cent of western expatriates living in the UAE rank the country as the most ideal place to live owing to opportunities present in the region, according to a Standard Life study.
A tax-free salary is the biggest benefit for western expats in the UAE, said Chris Divito, CEO of Standard Life International Limited.
“A tax free income provides a great opportunity which may lead to relatively higher savings and in turn allow expats to save more on a regular basis,” said Divito.
However, while western expats in the UAE have a stable financial future, they save less compared to their counterparts in Hong Kong and Singapore, said the study.
There was an overlap in expenditure on luxury and investment options.
Around 97 per cent of UAE-based western expats spend some of their disposable income on luxurious lifestyle choices. However around 94 per cent of them also spend a bulk of their disposable income on investments.
The study found that out of the income spend among investments, 56 per cent is spent on real estate, which includes rent or mortgage payments, with 51 per cent spent on loans. The rest of the disposable income is spent on children’s education, health related expenses and monthly miscellaneous household expenses, the study said.
“With an increasing number of UAE western expats paying off their financial liabilities, it is leading to greater strain on their long-term savings and investments,” said Divito.
“Financial stability is a key priority for expats, and it drives them to plan for their future but at the same time our research has found that spending on non-essential luxury items is also a priority for consumers.”
The report also revealed that 61 per cent of UAE-based western expats are undecided about return plans. The reasons to return home after a long gap would largely depend on new job opportunities in their home country or if they have enough saved for retirement.
However, 90 per cent of expats polled were fully aware of the tax implications when returning home while 76 per cent of them were confident about their retirement funds.